Saturday was opening day for both partridge and sage hen, and it was Mia’s turn to go hunting.
Mia on a lava ridge
Unlike Doc’s forest hunt, this was open desert as far as the eye could see. We hadn’t been hunting very long before I saw a sage hen in the open, about 75 yards out. I “whoa’d” Mia and was trying to determine the best way of getting close enough for a shot when it, along with 9 others flushed.
Not long after encountering that flock, Mia caught a scent and turned to give me her “come here” look – it’s the look she gives me when she wants to show me something. I gave her the “hunt” command and she began tracking a sage grouse.
Mia gives me her “I have something to show you” look
She was still working her way towards the bird when it flushed and I dropped it, a young rooster. Mia then did a nice job of retrieving.
Mia pointing sage grouse at about 50 yards
With that shot I had my sage hen limit so I changed tactics to partridge. We continued hunting several more miles into the desert without luck, but encountered three more sage grouse. They didn’t fly far so I influenced Mia around just for another chance to point them, which she did at about 50 yards.
A Sage Grouse about 75 yards away
We then returned to the 4Runner for lunch. I checked out Mia’s feet and found that the lava rocks had worn her pads down and I was afraid that she might slip a pad if we hunted any longer. She had also picked up a number of cactus thorns in her feet and legs, even though she’s experienced in avoiding them, so I called it a day.
Mia with the sage hen she retrieved.
At the age of 8, Mia’s beginning to show her age on these strenuous hunts and needed a little pain medicine to relieve her aches and stiffness.
The dog crate makes a great picnic table for soda, chips and sandwich.